New President of Italy Helped to Save Jews from Nazi Hands

Italy’s new President, Giuseppe Saragat, a Socialist, fought both Fascism and Nazism in his native Italy and helped save the lives of many intended victims, Jewish and non-Jewish, of the totalitarian regimes, Jewish circles emphasized here today.

On an official visit to Egypt last April, he told Egyptian Deputy Premier Mahmoud Fawzi that he had visited Israel and that, on that visit, he “had the honor to light a flame in the memorial temple” for the 6,000,000 European Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust. He bluntly told his Egyptian hosts that “Israel cannot be identified with alleged aggressive Zionism but is a symbol of the persecution suffered by Jews,” and that “Israel is a reality which it would be absurd to deny.”

The Social Democratic leader went into exile in 1926, first to Vienna, then to Paris. He left the French capital in 1940, when the Germans invaded France, and went into hiding in Toulouse in Vichy France. There he organized the flight to Switzerland of the Jewish Socialist, Modigliani, whom he knew to be in special danger.

He returned to Italy and was arrested by the Germans. He escaped and joined the underground resistance in Rome until the city was liberated in June 1944. “Thus the new President shared the destiny of millions of European Jews and Christians who were scattered by the savagery of Fascism and Nazism,” it was pointed out, stressing that he never ceased his efforts to organize his party in exile and its resistance to Nazism while at the same time saving lives and suffering great privation personally.

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